It’s a good thing Obama saved the auto industry

Remember a few years ago, when the American auto industry was on the verge of collapse? When Republicans said the Obama administration’s risky strategy would fail and Mitt Romney said we should “let Detroit go bankrupt” and we could “kiss the American automotive industry goodbye” if Obama’s policy moved forward?

We can all be very glad right now that Republicans were wrong. The auto industry is one of the economy’s few bright spots.

Taxpayers bailed out much of the U.S. auto industry. Now the carmakers might be what saves the nation’s economy from falling back into recession.

After a massive restructuring and several high-profile bankruptcies, a leaner, more aggressive auto industry is making a comeback, hiring workers and ramping up manufacturing plants. From a trough two years ago, Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co., Chrysler Group and other auto companies have added almost 90,000 manufacturing jobs, a 14% increase, according to federal employment data.

Kevin Drum flagged a chart from the L.A. Times piece, but added a helpful blue line to show the before-and-after difference for the industry once the Obama administration’s policy was enacted.

I continue to think of this as one of the Obama White House’s best success stories, even if it’s largely overlooked by the political world. Two years ago, NBC News established a tough benchmark: “As the GM bailout goes, so goes the Obama presidency.”

Well, the rescue policy worked.